The Force Behind Muhammad
The personality of Muhammad is an enigma to many scholars. Even those who do not believe that he was a messenger of God and can prove that his personal qualities and deeds disqualify him for such lofty station, admit that he had an extremely impressive and charismatic personality that was able to influence people around him who believed in him and were inspired or even mesmerized to the extent that they were ready to kill for him and his promises.
What made Muhammad different? Was he a genius or was he a monster? Was he a saint or was he a devil? The believers’ opinion of Muhammad differs from his foes, yet all agree that Muhammad was no ordinary person. What made Muhammad different? How he was able to summon so much determination, aspire so big, think so grandiose and become so powerful in such a short time? What was the force behind him?
There is not a day that someone somewhere does not proclaim himself to be a messenger of God and there are no shortage of fools who believe in him. Who would go about killing innocent people like in the case of the Japanese sect the Supreme Truth or would commit mass suicides like in the case of the American sect, the Heaven's Gate. What makes one make such claim? Is it for money? Of course not! What these charlatans want is respect, admiration and power. These people are emotionally sick. They are narcissists. A narcissist is someone who has a tremendous need for recognition. Narcissists are stubborn, manipulative and crave for power. But they are also intelligent, cunning and resourceful. The most famous of the narcissists are: Changeez Khan, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini Polpot, Mao, Saddam Hussein and Idi Amin. Narcissists are smart but they are emotionally disturbed. They only see their validation in power and to achieve that they stop at nothing. They lie very convincingly. They inspire confidence and look absolutely self-assured. But all that is a facade to hide their emotional insecurity and their inner fears.
This emotional disturbance occurs at childhood. What the above dictators had in commons is a difficult and a loveless childhood. In the case of Muhammad he was born an orphan. In those days orphans did not have much prestige and the awareness that he was an orphan must have left on him its impact making him feel insecure and inferior. When Muhammad was born he was given to a surrogate mother Thueiba who nursed him for several months (Katib al Waquidi p. 20).
It is not clear why Amina, Muhammad's biological mother, who was a widow and had no other children would give away her only child to a surrogate mother and would not take care of him herself. This was obviously a custom of the Arabs but it makes no sense for a single mother to give away his only child and prefer complete loneliness. customs are never stronger than motherly instinct. If Amina had many children to take care of, this would have made more sense. But Muhammad was her only child and she was a widow. It is not understandable why she would not take care of him and would give him to a Bedouin to raise him. Did she really love Muhammad? Did she believe that this child would reduce her chance of getting remarried? There is very little information on Muhammad's mother for us to understand her well. But one thing is clear and that is Muhammad was very bitter towards her as we shall see ahead.
The baby Muhammad stayed in the care of Thueiba for some times. The exact time is not known but it must have been several months for Muhammad remembered to send gifts to her when he came to wealth many decades later. But for some reason Muhammad was taken from her and entrusted to Halima. During the early months of a child's life the infant cannot differentiate his own identity with that of his mother. In this case Thueiba, as far as Muhammad was concerned, was his mother. This change of "mother" from Thueiba to Halima must have been a shock for the child. Today's psychologists know about the adverse effect of such change on the emotional well being of the child, but the ignorant Arabs at that time had no clue about it.
Five years passed, Muhammad grew with another family in the desert, visiting his biological mother twice a year, being aware that he does not belong to that family but not understanding the customs of the adults and wondering why his own mother spurns him. This child grew feeling unloved and demonstrated bizarre behavior that had his wet nurse and his real mother wonder whether he was demon possessed.
W.M. Watt in his translation of Ibn Ishaq's biography of Muhammad (p. 36) quotes the following strange story told by Muhammad which makes one wonder of his state of mind.
"...two men in white clothes came to me with a golden basin full of snow. They took me and split open my body, then they took my heart and split it open and took out from it a black clot which they flung away. Then they washed my heart and my body with that snow until they made them pure."
The Prophet's mental condition was a matter of concern since his childhood, which deeply disturbed his wet nurse who returned him to his mother. Here is the story told by Halima, related in Guillaume's translation of Ibn Ishaq, page 72:
"His [Muhammad's friend's] father said to me, "I am afraid that this child has had a stroke, so take him back to his family before the result appears. ..... She [Muhammad's mother] asked me what happened and gave me no peace until I told her. When she asked if I feared a demon had possessed him, I replied that I did."
It is normal for children to see monsters under their beds, and have secret imaginary friends. but Muhammad's case must have been exceptionally worrisome and extremely weird to alarm his own mother and to bring up the possibility of her son being possessed by demon. The fact that his wet nurse also believed so is proof that he was mentally unstable from the childhood.
For the primitive people all those who were mentally sick were "demon possessed". Today most of the cases of "demon possessions" are treated and contained by medications. It is not illogical to think that if Prozac was invented 1400 years ago, the world would have been spared of Islam and millions of lives would have not been sacrificed at the Altar of Allah.
Then again Muhammad is separated from the only family that he knew and at five is returned to his real mother. As soon as he starts to get used to her, she also abandons him and dies. Muhammad never forgave his mother for giving him away when he was an infant and for leaving him alone when he still needed her affection. It is also possible that his bitterness towards his mother was because he never felt being loved by her.
On his pilgrimage from Medina to Hodeibia, after he conquered the Mecca he visited his mother's tomb, and lifted up his voice and wept. His followers likewise wept around turn. They asked him concerning it, and he said, ---- "This is the grave of my mother: the Lord hath permitted me to visit it. And I sought leave to pray for her, but it was not granted. So I called my mother to remembrance, and the tender memory of her overcame me, and I wept [Katib Al Waquidi p. 21].
Why should God not allow Muhammad to pray for his mother? Obviously this man could not forgive his mother even half a century after her death. He had deep emotional wounds that were never healed.
After Amina's death Muhammad went to the care of his grandfather Abdul Muttalib, who bestows all his love to him as he was the only remnant of his deceased son Abdullah. But again two years later, the cruel fate played another nasty game and Abdul Muthlib was also snatched by death.
The orphan child felt bitterly the loss of his loving grandfather; as he followed the bier to the cemetery of Hajun, he was seen to weep; and when he grew up, he retained a distinct remembrance of his death.
Muhammad was entrusted to the care of his not so wealthy uncle Abu Talib. Abu Talib faithfully discharged the trust. "His fondness for the lad equaled that of Abdul Muttalib." writes Moir "He made him sleep by his bed, eat by his side, and go with him whenever he walked abroad. And this tender treatment he continued until Mahornet emerged from the helplessness of Childhood."
This degree of attachment to his uncle is a clue to us that Muhammad was in constant fear of losing his loved ones and being left alone once again. This boy received several devastating blows at his childhood. He was an emotional wreck. This becomes evident from an incident recorded from him when he was 12 years old. At that time Abu Talib decided to go to Syria for a business trip. He intended to leave the child behind. "But when the caravan was ready to depart, and Abu Talib about to mount his camel, his nephew, overcome by the prospect of so long a separation, clung to his protector. Abu Talib was moved, and carried the boy along with him." (Muirp. 33)
Muhammad recalls with tenderness his own loneliness and his days of being an orphan. In Surah 93:6 "Did He not find thee an orphan and give thee shelter (and care)?
The emotional state of Muhammad is a fascinating subject that I am going to cover in my upcoming book. But suffice to say that narcissists are extremely successful people. They have a tremendous drive to achieve power as they search to satiate their thirst for loneliness and lack of love, with power, domination and recognition.
Dr. Sam Vaknin a psychologist and an expert in narcissism writes:
The narcissist is a master of disguise. He is a charmer, a talented actor, a magician and a director of both himself and his milieu. It is very difficult to expose him as such in the first encounter. But here are a few signs:
displays haughty behaviour
has a tendency to humiliate, criticize and belittle others
has a tendency to exaggerate, small, unnecessary lies
has a tendency to fantasize about unlimited success
brags incessantly, to ignore you, not to listen
has a tendency to idealize you much beyond the call of courtship
makes promises which are incommensurate either with the event, or with his
ability to fulfill them
has haughty body language
In my book I will go in detail demonstrating the presence of all these behaviors in Muhammad based on what is recorded of him in the Hadith and Sirat Rasul. There are more evidences that point to the fact that the Prophet was a narcissist. For example his devotion to Khadijah and his inability to love another woman in the same way and the fact that he in his advance age sought to fill her gap with sex sleeping with so many young women, never being faithful to anyone of them is another trail of his insecurity and inner fears.
Of course it is simplistic to believe that all those who rise and claim to be prophets do so for money. That is not the case at all. Money is just a by product. They do it for power, for recognition, for respect, for domination. These people are sick and they need respect and attention and only by presenting themselves as the ambassadors of great causes, they can get their narcissistic supplies from those who believe in them. The cause is not really important. It is an excuse, a tool of domination. For Stalin the excuse was communism, for Mussolini it was fascism, for Hitler Social Nationalism and for Muhammad it was religion and monotheism. The more they glorify these gods, the more they get the power for themselves, for they are the only representatives of their gods amongst men.
Again as Vaknin comments: "Narcissists use anything they can lay their hands on in the pursuit of narcissistic supply. If God, creed, church, faith, institutionalized religion can provide them with narcissistic supply, they will become devout. They will abandon religion if it can't." A good example of that is the televangelist Jimmy Swagart who with his charismatic personality and theatrics would rouse hundreds of thousands of people moving them to tears talking to them about God and morality but in reality had thoughts of kinky sex with prostitutes.
Allah was just a mean for Muhammad to influence people and get his narcissistic supply. Allah was Muhammad's alter ego. He could wield control over everyone's life and death by telling them presenting himself the only intermediary between God and the people. He could impose his whims on them putting in the mouth of God. Narcissists do not promote themselves directly. They know that this would not be accepted by others. They are clever and manipulative. Instead of promoting themselves they hide behind, imaginary gods, ideologies, causes or religions while presenting themselves as the messengers of these gods, the only authority that can take them to the promised land the only one who can make their dreams come true.
Dr. Vaknin explains: “ Everyone is a narcissist, to varying degrees. Narcissism is a healthy phenomenon. It helps survival. The difference between healthy and pathological narcissism is, indeed, in measure. Pathological narcissism and its extreme form, NPD (Narcissistic Pathological Disorder), is characterized by extreme lack of empathy. The narcissist regards and treats other people as objects to be exploited. He uses them to obtain narcissistic supply. He believes that he is entitled to special treatment because he harbours these grandiose fantasies about himself. The narcissist is NOT self-aware. His cognition and emotions are distorted.”
The above perfectly describes Muhammad. Muhammad was a ruthless man with no human feelings. At first he molded his religion to appease the Jews and attract them, but when he realized that they are not going to accept him and would not become tools in his dreams of domination he eliminated all of them. He massacred all the men of Banu Quraiza and of Kheibar and banished every other Jew and Christian from Arabia. Surely if God wanted to destroy these people he needed not the help of his messenger.
So I found there was no reason to be angry of an emotionally sick man who is dead long time ago. Muhammad was a victim himself of the stupid culture of his people, of the ignorance of his mother who instead of keeping him in the first years of his life when he needed her love most, entrusted him to a Bedouin woman to raise him.
Muhammad was a man with profound emotional scars. Dr. Vaknin says that a narcissist " lies to himself and to others, projecting "untouchability", emotional immunity and invincibility... For a narcissist "everything is bigger than life. If he is polite, then he is aggressively so. His promises outlandish, his criticism violent and ominous, his generosity inane." Isn't this the image the Prophet projected of himself?
Narcissists are insane but not dements. They are very much aware of the hurt that they cause and they enjoy the sensation of power. They are responsible for their actions. So if there is a hell as Muhammad described, he must be in the lowest pit of it and unlike what you believe he is not laughing his head off.